Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on J-Street

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Letter to the editor from: Sent at: Oct 21 2009 at 06:39 am EDT (re: Click here to read Jewish Telegraphic Agency Story on J-Street):  

To the Editor:  

As a Palestinian American Activist who speaks out forcefully on peace and against the use of violence, and who supports a two-state solution, I am concerned at the attacks being made by Jewish American and Israeli groups against J-Street, a Jewish American organization that 1) recognizes Israel and 2) supports a non-violent peaceful solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict.  

We cannot achieve genuine, long lasting peace if we silence the legitimate discussion and debate between our peoples and if we both move to our far rights, denouncing anyone who has ever criticized Israel, or Palestine, and seeking to exclude rather than to build a new and more effective moderate consensus that embraces the fundamental goals of peace based on compromise and a rejection of all violence.  

As one of the bloggers and writers participating in an independent blogging panel hosted by Tikun Olam, I am surprised that the responses to J-Street and the panel have been so harsh from some American Jewish organizations and news outlets. It is discouraging that there are so many people who are fighting to preserve the status quo of conflict and who resist seeking ways to bring two antagonists closer together.  

There is not one Israeli, not one Jew, not one Palestinian and not one Arab who has not said something critical of the other side. To pretend that 61 years of tragic conflict has not produced a difficult relationship marred by violence on both sides and highlighted by emotion-filled rhetoric is a tragic mistake that does not create an environment which supports Israel's right to exist or the right of Palestine to exist, too.  

We can continue to attack each other, or we can insist on findings a path towards peace. I support Israel's right to exist along side an independent Palestinian State. As a Palestinian and former national president of the Palestinian American Congress, and a writer who often criticizes bad Israeli government policies and bad Palestinian government policies, I believe Palestinians and Israelis must be ready to compromise and that violence by both the Hamas terrorists and the armed settler fanatics must be brought to an end.  

The solution is simple if we are willing to embrace it. Compromise. Tough compromise. Fair compromise. Rejection of violence and a fundamental belief that neither side is safe nor can sustain a safe future without achieving a two-state solution. Anyone who rejects that is merely helping to foment more conflict and insure that the future for Israelis and Palestinians remains one fraught with violence and uncertainty.  

Thanks Ray Hanania

in response to their report (Click here to read their story on J-Street and rising criticism from mainstream Jewish American Organizations)

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